Chat AI: Overcoming Boilerplate Barriers in Coding Projects

As a software engineer, I enjoy tweaking my workflow and discovering tools that make programming more engaging and enjoyable. Recently, I stumbled upon the potential of Chat AI in my development process, particularly when working with structured languages and frameworks. In this post, I want to share my personal experiences and insights on how AI-driven development tools, like ChatGPT, have influenced my approach to projects.

When AI Becomes Your Coding Buddy

In the realm of WPF applications, .NET libraries, and Unreal Engine C++, one often relies on well-defined patterns. This realization led me to understand that such "boring", boilerplate-heavy, structured environments provide an excellent opportunity for AI-driven development tools like Chat AI. LLMs are incredibly good at picking up these coding patterns and applying them to the task at hand. A prime example is implementing Windows desktop applications. The combination of XAML templates, C# code-behind, MVVM classes and properties, and all the related testing setup requires so much boilerplate to get to the actual fun parts that I would often lose interest in side projects and eventually abandon them. However, I discovered that collaborating with a Chat AI bot kept me focused on the project's actual goals, rather than getting bogged down by generating boilerplate code. I can share my general idea, ask for a base view for the layout I have in mind, and in a few minutes, I have the core of my WPF application I can start iterating upon. Think of a new idea for a view or library? Again, ChatGPT can generate the whole setup in a few minutes of discussion, and I'm back focusing on the fun parts I genuinely care about!

AI-driven Development: Unleashing My Creativity

With the help of Chat AIs, I've tackled complex applications that I would have hesitated to attempt before due to my previous labor-intensive experiences with tools like Xaml design and styling. The online documentation for these tools is often inadequate, outdated, or challenging to comprehend without a solid grasp of the tooling. WPF, WinUI, UWP, and Xaml (basically the whole Microsoft stack) exemplify frameworks that can be quite confusing to learn using online resources like Stack Overflow.

And now that I've been able to become more familiar with these frameworks thanks to my coding buddy, and have seen what I can achieve in a short time, I've been consistently creating applications for my personal needs whenever inspiration strikes. Some examples include:

  • An application to send Wake-on-LAN magic packets to machines on my network
  • A Visual Studio extension to pack PNGs into ICO files
  • An application to manage DNS block rules for my devices
  • A one-of-a-kind editor project for creating desktop GUIs, inspired by Unreal Engine
  • A note-taking application
  • Unreal tooling for game ideas I work on, and more!

Embracing AI in My Coding Journey

The key takeaway I want to share is the incredible synergy I've discovered between AI-driven development tools and structured programming environments. By integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into their workflows, developers can unlock their full potential and elevate their overall development experience.

In conclusion, AI-driven development has opened up new avenues for me to stay engaged and enjoy working with boilerplate-heavy, structured languages and frameworks. By sharing my personal insights, I hope to inspire fellow developers to explore the use of AI tools in their own work and experience the benefits firsthand.